This morning I took Orla for her U8 check. I was a little early and decided to take a look at the second hand toyshop across the road from the doctors and ended up dragging a balance bike into the doctors as well. The U8 is basically a development check for 4 year olds. The usual things: eyesight, hearing, speech, height, weight, head circumference, counting, building towers, and drawing, and copying shapes.
She did outstandingly well, and I say this not only because for once she wasn't totally bottom of the scale in both height and weight. Incidentally I thought this was particularly fantastic as compared to the average German we are all slightly lacking in the height department. So small are we that poor, poor, teeny-tiny Stevie (5'8") can't get jeans to fit because the legs are all too long here.
So after excelling in the height test, she also did magnificently in the hearing test, which came as a complete surprise to me as she seems deaf to any of my requests or instructions. Anyway, she managed to do the test in German. She had to listen to a recording and as they mentioned various items she had to point to them on a chart. She also did the speech test in German where she had to say the names of about 25 things in German. There were about 2 things she wasn't sure about - Hammer/eh... Hammer, and Roof/Dach, but I thought her vocabulary was pretty top notch. I noticed that she said "Deine..." in front of everything (your...) and likes to add an occasional 'e' to the end of words. Not a bad rule of thumb if in doubt with German words.
Anyway, our lovely Doctor thinks she has a problem with her enunciation, and has recommended that I take her to a speech therapist. He thought I could wait until September, but as September is when she starts school, I thought it might be better to give it a go before then, rather than have it interfere with the start of school. When I told him this, he did the German/American thing, and argued with me that no, she wasn't starting school in September. I have had this argument with so many Germans and Americans, that this time I just agreed with him. Because of course I'm wrong and have enrolled her in school just for her to turn up on the first day and be told she's 2 years too early. Actually that's the kind of thing I am well known for myself, so normally I'd say they might have a point, but on this occasion, yes, it's true, she is exceedingly young, but that's how they do it in England.
I'm not particularly fussed over the speech therapy thing. I don't really think she has a problem. She just sounds a little unclear at times but it's more because it's still a baby-ish voice and I imagine it'll resolve itself in time. But as we'll get it paid for through our health insurance then I don't see any reason not to give it a go, and maybe improve her speech before she starts school. It certainly won't do any harm.
At the end of all the tests she got given her usual Gummi Bear and this time she also got given a little clasp for her hair. I'm sure in the UK she'd be getting another little pile of books (via Bookstart), so considering we'll probably be billed for the clasp, it feels like we're being short-changed. I think the Bookstart scheme is excellent in the UK and I always looked forward to the kids getting a free little pile of books.
Anyway, I shall book her in for a little speech therapy in April and see how it goes.